Reporters in the White House press are trying something new with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: appealing to her “empathy.”
During Thursday’s White House press briefing, Sanders fielded searing criticism from an outspoken reporter over the Trump administration’s policy to separate migrant families at the Mexican border.
The reporter in question was Brian Karem, executive editor of the Sentinel Newspapers. Just before, Sanders had been sparring with another reporter over of the question of why the administration chooses to separate children from parents who arrive in the U.S. illegally, with the reporter arguing that that the administration “doesn’t want to take responsibility” for this new element of its immigration policy.
When Sanders moved to take another question, Karem cut in:
“You’re a parent — don’t you have any empathy? Come on, Sarah. You’re a parent. Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through. They have less than you do … You’re sitting there telling us it’s a law … these people have nothing. They come over here with nothing.”
When Sanders accused Karem of using the moment to “get some more TV time,” Karem shot back:
“It’s not about that. It’s about you answering a question, Sarah. Honestly, answer the question. It’s a serious question. These people have nothing, they come to the border with nothing, and they [border patrol agents] throw children in cages. You’re a parent. You’re a parent of young children. Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through?”
Sanders chose to ignore Karem’s appeals, and moved on.
The exchange comes amid questions regarding Sanders’ future with the White House. Though a CBS News report from Wednesday reports that the press secretary plans to bail on the role, Sanders has since denied that’s the case.
So, uh … we’ll just see what happens Friday.